PH-CHINA TENSION: How it all began

THE Philippines formally established its diplomatic relations with China when President Ferdinand Marcos went to China to sign a Joint Communique normalizing the relations between the two countries in June 1975, despite an initial apprehension at the time over communist China and its alliance with the Soviet Union.

The two countries have since accomplished numerous bilateral agreements covering different fields, ranging from politics, defense, trade and investments, infrastructures, and tourism among others, though even before the formal ties were sealed Chinese arrived in the Philippines in droves doing retail trade and commerce.

While problems occurred every now and then, efforts to maintain cooperation prevented serious dispute between the two countries and among other neighboring Asian countries.

As a way of easing tensions at the South China Sea, which the Philippine government now calls West Philippine Sea, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China came up with a declaration of conduct in 2002, following tensions in the 1990s when the Philippines protested against China’s activities at the Mischief Reef and nearby areas, and when China and Vietnam reached a conclusion regarding maritime delimitation in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The Philippine-China ties changed, however, when China became more aggressive in asserting its rights over the West Philippine Sea, according to Philippine officials.

The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group traced the good and bad times that shaped the Philippine-China relations in recent years:

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